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Bendigo TAFE and students in the running for national awards

Bendigo TAFE is in the running to be named Australia’s top large training provider, while two stand-out students are finalists for Australian Koorie Student of the Year and Australian Trainee of the Year.

Bendigo TAFE progressed to the 2022 Australian Training Awards final after clinching the Victorian prize earlier this year. The awards recognise and celebrate outstanding achievements in the vocational education and training sector.

Desirae Kilduff and Franchesca Morrell are the Bendigo TAFE student finalists in the awards.

Ms Kilduff, who is a finalist for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year Award, completed a Diploma of Leadership and Management/Diploma of Human Resource Management.

A traineeship with ANZ, which has a strong commitment to Indigenous employees, sparked her interest in supporting First Nations employment outcomes.

(Desirae Kilduff. Image supplied by Victorian Training Awards)

She joined Maxima Group as an Indigenous Employment Consultant and pursued qualifications to bolster her new direction, including her dual Bendigo TAFE diploma. Now in a managerial role, Ms Kilduff is taking on further studies, including a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment developed specifically for Indigenous learners.

“The team at Bendigo TAFE’s Indigenous Education Centre reached out to me as soon as I enrolled and let me know who they were,” she says. “Throughout the year – and it was a tough year with COVID – they made sure I was doing well and offered their resources.”

Franchesca Morrell said being a national Trainee of the Year finalist was a great honour. Mrs Morrell migrated to Australia at 23 from The Philippines and worked for two years as a dental assistant before joining a clinic that offered the Certificate III in Dental Assisting traineeship.

“It was great to study and work at the same time,” she says. “What I learnt in theory at night could be put into practice during the day. It kept me on my toes, and it kept me aware of everything I needed to do in my role.”

(Franchesca Morrell. Image supplied by Victorian Training Awards)

Mrs Morell, now 28, is now a senior dental nurse and also works in community health, including the Victorian Government’s Smile Squad and Bendigo Health’s dental outreach program.

Bendigo TAFE CEO Sally Curtain said being shortlisted for the national awards highlighted the TAFE’s commitment and dedication to students, industry, and community.

“This is great recognition of all the hard work of our people in making a real difference to the lives of thousands of students that choose to study with us each year.

“Our mission is to empower people, our community and industry with the skills to make a bright future, something I am proud to say our student finalists embody,” Ms Curtain said.

Results will be announced at the 2022 Australian Training Awards in Adelaide on 18 November 2022.

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